An Explicit Connection Between Faith and Justice in Catholic Legal Education: Why Rock the Boat?
Amelia J. Uelmen
Fordham University School of Law
University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, Vol. 81, pp. 921-938, 2004
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 93
Fearful that integrating religious values into the substantive legal curriculum may be divisive or perceived as religious indoctrination, many Catholic law schools have concluded that the smoothest course for Catholic legal education is to draw only an implicit connection between faith and justice.
This essay argues that this failure to draw a more explicit connection between faith and justice in the law school curriculum is ultimately a disservice to students. Equating a commitment to justice exclusively with pro bono and public interest law leaves many young attorneys at a loss for how to integrate into their day-to-day work any notions of justice informed by values other than those of the market. Catholic legal education should "rock the boat" in order to help students develop a robust intellectual framework which would help them to challenge, or at least think about, how their work as lawyers impacts the common good and the poor.
Based on our experience at Fordham University School of Law, the essay outlines several practical suggestions for drawing a more explicit connection between faith and justice in curricula, programs and faculty colloquia. It notes that dialogue with other religious traditions and disciplines can do much to set an inclusive and inviting tone in schools with religiously diverse faculties and student bodies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Date posted: August 9, 2005